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Us 11, United States 10, Marshall 7, Mr. Conyers 5, Michelle Alexander 5, U.n. 4, U.s. 4, Schmoke 3, Mr. Mack 3, Mr. Coleman 2, Bill Coleman 2, Obama 2, Thurgood Marshall 2, Murray 2, Louisiana 2, Laura 2, Charlie Houston 2, Alexander 2, Coleman 2, Mr. Scott 2,
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  CSPAN    C-SPAN Weekend    News/Business.  

    September 19, 2010
    6:00 - 6:59am EDT  

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i don't know what they'll do -- [laughter] anyway, including clarence, but to the jurisdiction thereof, and there's a case called calvin's case about the citizenship that they used in the debates too and says to allegiance too, and the words to allegiance to people think it's the same of to the jurisdiction of. they have to decide when the case gets to the supreme court whether undocumented people or aliens of the united states are subject to a jurisdiction of the united states or aallegiance to. i would think they would vote yes based on cases in the 50s, but don't that. i just get as prepared as i can get. >> we're getting prepared. michelle, can you bring us to
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the fast forward of the state to the new jim crowe and the relationship to these discussions about what we thoughtas an underlying support system in the form of the 14th amendment? >> yes -- >> bring your mic closer. >> my title of the book is the new m crow in the new age. it's meant to be provocative in the age of obama and color blindness doesn't believe an akin currently exists in the united states. i argue that in fact, there is a system that functioning much like capped systems that we supposedly left behind. the mass incarration of poor people of color in e united states operates as a system of
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racial control that manages to relegate millions of poor people of color to a permanent second-class status by law and cuesment. now the 14th amendment was clearly intended to eradicate racialast in america, and the 14th amendment didn't manage prevent the rise of jim crow or manage to prevent the emergence of mast incarceration in the united states either. most people imagine that our prison population in the united states has qin tup led, not doubled due to crime rates. we have a prison population that went from 300,000 to 2 million in a few short decades due to crime rates. it's not true. it's not true. nearly all social gists believe
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crime rates and prison rates moved independent of each other. incarceration have consistently sored. today crime rates are at historicalows but incarceration rates are at all-time highs. crime rates and incarceration rates have relatively little to do with one another. the mass incars nation of the poor people in the united states is a war, a get tough movement and o war on drugs declared on poor communities of colors although studies have shown for decades contrary to popular belief people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites, but the drug war is waged exclusively on poor communities
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of color, and law enforcement with the supreme court's blessing has gone about stopping and searching millions of, you know, young people of color, sweeping them into the system for primarily the same types of crime that go ignored on college campuses and middle class predome manetly white communities. the middle class could have had something to say this. is the bias in the crimin justice system as bad as you say it is? why don't you file for suits on it or class actions on police or file a lawsuit? doesn't the 14th amendment guarantee equal protection of the laws? well, the problem is most people don't realize that the u.s. supre court has held in a series of cases beginning with
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armstrong vs. the united states that no matter how erwhelming the evidence is or how severe the racial disparities are, unless you have evidence of constitutional bias, an add mings, the kind of evidence that's nearly impossible to come by today when virtually everybody knows not to say the reason i stopped him was because he was black. the reason i gave him the death ?ps was because he's black. law enforcement as a whole has now been trained not to reveal their biases. law enforcement hold unconscious biases that they couldn't articulate if they tried. the u.s. supreme court closed the courthouse doors of racial bias at every stage. our criminal cents justice
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system is off limes many in the way gym crow was protected by the supreme court in their day, so we have got to, i agree with the members of the panel, that we have got to protect the 14th amendment, but we have also got to breathe new life into, and as we have seen throughout the course of history how the supreme courts interprets the 14th amendment has to do with the political context of that time. we have got to create a political environment in which the members of the u.s. supreme court and the federal judiciary feel they have no choice but to acknowledge that equal treatment under the law means not that you managed to find someone who admitted to racial bias, but that everyone is, in fact, in reality treated by law enforcement, treated by all institutions and agencies on
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equal terms no matterhat the race or color. >> michelle, here's the thing if the courthouse door is closed, we worked for 17 years to get equality for the treatment of users of crack cocaine versus users of powder cocaine. 17 years we have stories of grandmothers, people with no criminal record gets 10 or 20 year terms, and we brought that to the congrs repeededly and huge champions deserve a round of applause to t the legislation through to president obama's desk. [applause] but it was so disappointing because other than a banned of advocates and a few leaders from around the country and victims, we have had a problem in the african-american community in particular getting them to talk about crime and drug policy with the vigor we need as if it was
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brown vs. board of education. it i the civ rights crisis and new jim crow, so if the courthouse door is slammed in our face and congress won't even make one-to-one the standard. they make it 18 to 1 instead of 100 to 1 on crack cocaine sentencing, what are our options? that very same movement needs to be informed they also have to defend the 14th amendment. ..
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think an awakening is required. a period of consciousness. and movement building has to -- consciousness-raising and movement building has to take place. if we were to go back to the racial incarceration we had in the 1970's, a time when many civil rights activists thought it was just high, we would have to release four out of five people who are in prison today. more than a million people employed by the criminal justice system would lose their jobs.
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prisons located in white rural communities would close. if we're talking about ending the system we have in this the united states today, it is going to take much more than kind of the tinkering of a handful of laws by courageous lawmakers. it is going to require an awakening within the community, incarceration. to
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back to something that secretary coleman said about, i asked lee agree with everything that professor alexander commented on. you know, i spent a fair amount of time when i was mayor trying to change drug policy to more humane -- >> and would not retreat. >> let me just say, the one thing i learned from my experience though in dealing with trying to make sure that people believe that the war on drugs should be a public health war rather than a criminal justice war, is that when you go before voters and explain the actual impacts, and give alternatives, the people often, even if they disagreed, they respect you. i was reelected twiceafter being skewered by folks were
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saying that we should, you know, move towards a more public health model. but i want to get, we can talk out at although more but i want to emphasize something that the secretary talked about earlier regarding the 14th amendment. and he talked about the fact that marshall and hasty and bob carter and judge carter and others, pick a strategy. they had to have a theory of the case in order to move things forward. well, right now we are seeing various organizations, particularly right wing funded groups, use the same strategy that marshall and hasty and others did to try to actually redu the rights at have been granted. we are watching a tax on the voting marts where organizations are picking the cases, picking the jurisdictions, coming up with mixed there is again try
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and use the 14th amendment to roll back the provisions of the voting rights act, and they're doing it small jurisdiction by small jurisdiction. so we have seen this before so we have to b prepared, recognizing that we had for a number of years 50 years or so d expansion of the definition of rights under the 14th amendment are now therare others trying to shrink those rights. using the strategies that we've seen before. so i just hope that we c continue to do what our former dean, charlie houston, charges and wants it to a group of students at howard law school. a set of lawyer is either a social engineer or a light on society. and we neemore social engineers to stand up under the banner of the 14th amendment, fighting for these issues, and in particular fighting for the types of matters that professor
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alexander was talking about. >> i want to ask because you written as quickly became -- acclaimed biography of thurgood marshall. and you have a tremendous attorney general and a tremendous president now, but they can't do everything. eric holder is not getting nearly enough credit for how he is revitalize, completely revitalize, and 100 new positions to the civil righ division, how many fair lending cases he's brought, how many employment discrimination cases he's brought, and have repeatedly, throughout his testimony, on criminal justice issues, he said we've had to repeal the disparity between crack and powder cocaine. so the aclu is honoring eric holder nxt tuesday for his work just on that there'll set of issues. we have disagreements obviously on guantanamo and other issues,
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but ron williams, you're seeing these black leaders move and navigate through a very hostile political environment. and so, when i look at you i kind of want to ask, what would thurgood do? how do you think he would advise these leaders to not only we strengthened the 14th amendment, but to make civil rights more reality, and to avoid the desegregation that michelle alexander is talking about? >> well, i'm sorry i missed mr. coleman's statemnt, but i am taken by the idea that justice marshall when he was working with men like bill coleman, was quite the pragmatist, quite hard-nosed about the politil realities of the day, and a great believer in the law. so that he was not a political
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animal but very uch aware that politics influenced the law, influenced judges, influence juries, influence members of the legislature. but he was always about exactly how you get something done so that it was written into law, that it was something that the legislature could approve in the courts could deal with as a permanent part of the political but more important, the legal structure of the country. it's why he was not in the forefront of any great marches. he was always one who believed that if you really want to create change, be in education, housing, elsewhere, what you want to do is to get it put into law. so to that extent, i by the way, can't speak highly enough of what mr. holder has done. i know your problems with some of the things he hasn't done, but i think that if you look, for example, at what is done on
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that case down in luisiana with people coming across the bridge, what he's done in terms of housing, and especially beating up the civil rights division, despite the concerns they are now being expressed in the civil rights commission over the new black panther case. i think that what you're seeing is a revitalization of the juice department as an enforcer of civil rights law in this country. and moving away from the theory that you have to look more individuals as opposed to classes of people, race as a consideration, in the treatment of americans. so when youask me what would justice marshall do, i think lawyer marshall would have been about getting into court, getting laws, activated, so that he would find that he could appeal to the 14th amendment and say on this basis, people are having their rights violated. >> i hope i gave the attorney general appropriate props.
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>> i think i know too much about it, how active you are. [laughter] >> mr. mack, professor black speakers on the question of marshall would be doing, i think ron wins was right. is a pragmatist. he knew how to get to court. but he was also an organizer. had a book i would recommend to all of you is a book by patricia called every point. it's the first one volume complete on, complete history o the naacp up until 1960 published last year. one of the things, when the point she makes in the book is that marshall traveled a lot he would travel 25,000 miles in one year. he was often not in the national office. he was out speaking to local black communities. he was organizing. he was getting behind the cases. and he was organizing them to resist jim crow. and we think about lawyers we tendo think about them as not
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being organizers. and it turns out that thurgood marshall who was a super lawyer, was also a super organizer. and what i think about sort of where is the grassroots organizational improvisational energy today, it's in folks who are, let me say, not at all put off i want michelle alexander has described. and one of the things i think he would say to us today is we need to get organized. we've got to organize together as and after the american, and we need to get organized again. >> yes. professor berry? >> yes, i agree that everybody agrees with everything and we all says and i agree with everything. and not only was thurgood an organizer, so was charlie houston. any good lawyer who has litigated cases of this type knows the importance of organizing and getting the
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people behind it, and the importance of public opinion and everything else in the case. you can't read the biography of charlie houston without reading the details of how he understood how to organizehe public to get ople interested in an issue, and also to promote and back at the litigation while he was doing it. but whatever they wanted to say was, as for the book and the work that you do on incarceration, it is my impression that from traveling around and talking to people, and from reading books and articles, teaching thi stuff for years, that a lot of african-americans, especially thos of us who call ourselves middle-class, and educated, still believe, don't believe that most of the people who are in jail are therefore, they shouldn't be there, that they don't really understand that most of it is about the drug problems.
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now it is in some ways connected to the. and that the racial profiling and all the other issues are important enough. it's not that anyone is making excuses for anybody going to jail. that's not the point. but if you don't understand the context and how this comes about, then, you know, the people that are profiled in terms of geek even arrested for drug offense in the first place, and the social and economic circumstances of the ighborhoods in which they live and do things, the options they have, gay people caught up in a. we know that this really, but when it comes to try to mobilize ople, to do something, about incarceration rates, or legalizing drugs. wind kurt schmoke was trying to do something about making drugs a matter of social policy rather than a massive criminalization. as he said he was skewered. what was her name, the woman who surgeon general? jocelyn elders.
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and i blame myself for that because i was in the green room where she and i were giving a speech and before she went out i said when you go out there, why you see just the people that legalization of drugs ought to be studied. and she said, are you sure i ought to do that? i said, well, you and i agree it out to be studied. make sure you don't say it ought to be legalized, just that it should be studied. and so we agreed that she should say that. she went out and said that, a all hell broke loose. [laughter] >> and i can say steady coming anybody is willing to study. and the study partnever got, you know, that there can whether she believed in congress and schools, you know, she's better off. in any cas, in any case, i just think that a lot of us in the african-american community jumped on the bandwagon and opposition to legalization. even though of the impact. some members of the august body,
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the house of representatives, and congressional black caucus jumped up and down and screamed and yelled abo not doing it. and also we first our talk about changing the penalties for crack and powder, the differential. they were against that. and we also bought into the argument that our crime problem, which came mainly from the right and promoted by some nefarious figures whose names i won't mention, was that all our major problems is black on black crimes, remember that clark? black on black crime. while there is black on black crime, what did was they do not see this whole picture that she's talking about, and impact intergenerationally. i know families, i don't know about you, where grandmothers are taking care of kids because the mother, father are both india. they got hung up on the drug deal and we all know about the money going out to prisoners out there, to stay back in the
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neighborhood. we finally know about all that. so i think we need to educate ourselves better, to understand that you can be against black on black crime and you can be against high incarceration rates and get people in the drug thing and make sure pele have jobs. and when they don't have jobs, it may not have anything to d with the crime rates directly, but more peole are caught up into the drug selling, drug dealing, all the rest of that. so i just wanted to point out that we sometimes are our own worst enemies when it comes to these issues. >> secretary pomata, you reach for the microphone. >> i want to make an observation before i get kicked out of the room. this country from its beginning had depended upon, people that made money and don't there is businesses. and if and when you have that, that's where you get more power
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to get political people to do things you want them to do. and it really concerns me to the extent to which we talk about the other end of the problem. in the books i've written, we say as of today there are a hundred corporations listed on the new york stock exchange that have as their chief executive officer or their general counsel. now, i can speak about a lot, they came to me and said bill, you're a lawyer and you do everything but the annual meetings. and i assure you, it made me very proper. but i beg you to look at the other and. the school system is lousy. and unless you do something to change it, our next generation is not going to be where it has to be. if it is there, you don't get the job.
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the day i entered harvard law school, the guy sitting next to me was elliot richardson. and we got to be good friends. when i finish harvard law school, first in my class, no firm would give me a job. well, i got my first crack because ellen of that richardson's awful cold paul weisenfield and that's why into debt. and i just think that everybody else is push that way. you know, i've done it, and two of my lawyers. and i really beg you to look at that part of it, because it's amazing how much people like you, they think you get more power than you have. and i really think that those are the things, at least as much the are about these issues.
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now we talk about housing, i'm a republican so ishouldn't say that. but the reason why you have such a screwed up the totality is that no president, starting with roosevelt, would do anything about it. and so, therefore, when the lights went to the suburbs they got the mortgages in everything. and only changed when bill clinton and george bush came along. and they said a lot of people there didn't have moey to pay, and you've got the banking problem now. nobody says that. but that's why you have a banking problem, because of what those people did. i was lucky, because in 1952, i was married to my wife and dwight eisenhower was running for president. and my father in lawws a republican delegation to the national convention from
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louisiana. and he and john, went on to be a great judge, led the delegation from task to eisenhower. unit, eisenhower wou always take my calls. and i really beg you, you've got so much power and so much ability, but, you know, you've got to know how to make the difference. and die, you know, the other day, a gentleman came over to me from the arabian country, said you know, saudi arabia, 99% of that oil is owned by six families. and very angry ow because the people used to do the investment have done well. they want to get somebod new. now, if i could pull that off, i don't have to come to these god damn meetings anymore. [laughter] >> essays, look at people, i'm on the board of chase.
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chase has a charge account but i stay with american express because i think it's a good company. just really get you some day, look at these companies, what they're doing to get people of the topic i think they'll make a lot of difference. i realized i shouldn't have said this. >> you can say anything you want. you have burned that right. teen, i want to ask you to bring us back to the 14th endment a. this is a very interesting discussion. but really what you have is a group of great minds here. and which are going to be responsible for doing, whether democrats are in the majority or the minority, is compiling a record to make thease not to amend the constitution. at do you mean? what do you need from these people? they don't have to give it to today. but what would you have dean
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schmoke tell his students to get prepared to do? mr. mack? what witnesses do you need? >> well, i stood and i walked back to congressman scott and i id this is the makings of an excellent hearing. and i'm glad that so many people have been able to come in and get this and understand what the challenges are that face right now. one of the opening comments that laura made was most people don't understand in fact that the 14th amendment really is the bedrock of all for antidiscrimination laws. and the challenges that we have faced from the current makeup of the supreme court and changes in interpretation of the 14th amendment. when you then put the layer over immigration and its relationship to t 14th amendment, then
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you have a level of complexity and political volatilty, that if we have certain kinds of changes in the country are going to put members of congress under a great deal of pressure. and the difficulty that we face is that most people don't have a good understanding of our constitution. it's difficult to engage the public in many ways in this kind of dialogue. we have an augusta group of larger today and which are talking about cases and we have to start talking about history. for a lot of us this is really exciting. it's great for me, but the question then becomes how do we make this accessible to members of the public so that they understand really what's going on in our political sphere, and understand what people are trying to do to their constitution. so i think really, the thing that i like about the work that,
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for example, michelle alexander has done, on or prior panel we had someone stand up and say you've got to read this book by michelle alexander. not knowing that he was about three people away from michelle alexander. and the importance of that was the fact that she is now taking an issue like this and making it accessible to members of the general public. and i think that's really a lot of what we need to do. the work that mr. williams has done, historically around the civil rights movement. one of the things that you started off doing, laura, is connecting up the immigration debate to the 14th amendment and showing the breadth and the importance of the 14th amendment, not just african-americans as former slaves, but to everyo in this country. and we need to figure out how to take this dialogue and part of this dialogue and make it accessible to the public. because when we have or if we
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have a hearing on this, we need to be able to reduce this to a level that people understand in their day-to-day life. and that's really part of what we're talking about. that's why these books, the research is so important. >> okay, kid. is what we need to do. we need to ask these law school professors to be notified by you when the hearings come up in a house or the senate so that they can send their students to pack the hearing rooms. it's an enormous effect when the hearing rooms fill up and they look like this. [applause] >> what happens oftentimes, these debates take place at 1:00 in the middle of the workweek come in the afternoon or 10 a.m. in the morning. and nobody is there. and some of u nerds will watch it later on c-span, but we need to pack the hearing them. so that's number one. you need to tell us, kennan,
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when this is going to happen. number two, there's no real limit, maybe the rules have changed somewhat in the judiciary committee, and i'm not aware of them, but we need all of these panelists to put their names o testimony to be submitted for the record. right, mr. conyers? we need the black scholars in the nation to route around this and help make any discussion about amending the 14th amendment, to weaken it. radio active and make the discussion about improving the 14th amendment and talking about how the courts have weekend the real intention of the framers of the 14th amendment. we need to get people together to put testimony that mr. coleman can sign his name. it's just like we do in the supreme court. we need friends of the court briefs. we need friends of john conyers,
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you know, testimony. the other things we need to do is to, we need to make sure that people are made aware that the 14th amendment is under assault, and that means the bill of rights is under assault. and if they will go there, they will go to the ourth amendment. if they will go there they could go to the 13th amendment. nolikely, but they will go to other amendments. they certainly have repeatedly tried to pass amendments that circumscribe the first amendment. so whatever you can tell us to do, this is the dream team. and so, i want to now open up questions from the audience for the panelists to do we have a microphone? if not, if you say it i will repeat it. yes. no microphone? okay. >> i'm executive director and the government sector of t
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united states colored troops. to celebrate those of us who served in the civil war, and sisters. and i'm also chair of the d.c. regime. i have been in u.s. court of appeals right now gordon versus biden that started off a gordon versus cheney. to enforce the second section of the 14th amendment. it is targeted toward five former confederate states, georgia, louisiana, tennessee, arkansas and texas. it is simple. these states award their presidential electors on a winner take all basis. but there is no winner take all state stature. so my -- in those days, without a winner take all stature, north for you not to be subject to an
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amount of fortune, title ii, reduction relevance, you most apportion ur presidential election in electors on, you know, a proportional basis. now, my question is this. will the black caucus consider, now i'm playing e dirty cop. i am saying that you're going to have to choose representation, and argue a regional intent of the framers of the 14th amendment, and say they shall be reduced which is a mandate. i'm playing the bad cop. . .
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voting the percentage of your vote. ifou do that, obama in the next election you will have 30 presidential electors predicated on the strength of the democratic vote as opposed to zero to 75. >> i think we have t-- the
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question was directed toward mr. conyers and mr. scott. i will let mr. schmoke comment. we'll go to another question and let members of congress have a few closing remarks. >> mayor, thank you for your writings. i want to say that. >> because i can't speak for the caucus i would like if you have your suit, a draft of it electronically, to see, we have a civil rights law clinic at the law school if that's the type of matter we could give you some suppor on. >> thank you. yes? >> my name is qwasi and for number of years this addressing can hunting, what people call racial profiling. this issue about t 14th amendment. i like the panel to respond in this. because we were enslaved we
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weren't, we weren't, we weren't looking to become citizens. we were looking to become free. become liberated. after the war they enacted the 14th amendment. they didn't consult with us and it says, makes us citizens and says we're entitled to certain rights and privileges and then we had the black codes and all that other stuff. we're still dealing with that. the 14th amendment says that we're citizens. i think that is a violation of our human rights to self-determinati. you know, where they said, oh, you're a citizen now, you know. but you will be promised all this stuff because now you're subject to our authority in perpetuity. that sounds like slavery in continuation. >> what's the question? >> the question is, do you feel the 14th amenent, is a violation of our human right to self-determination? mean, you know -- >> okay. >> thank you. >> anybody want to take that? >> i think the 14th amendment is an enhancement
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of the rights, a piecemeal restoration of our rights. i mean, there were some people who wanted to be returned to africa. there were some people who did not want to become citizens but most people wanted to be treated as human beings. and i think the 14th amendment was a very, very significant element in having african-americans treated as human bngs and as citizens. it was never, no constitution and no element of the bill of rights is an end all, be all to our basic dignity as humanity. they are not self-enforcing. we have to make sure that those laws are enforced. at's why groups like the naacp came together and 90 years together the aclu came together. any other panelists would like to talk? >> i just want to mention, talking about people who were involved in this movement. there was a woman who graduated from howard law school, named fuel lien
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murray. pauline murray, outstanding lawyer. eventual became a minister and writer. she was a cofounder of the national oanization of women. and to your point, what she suggested was that we amend the constitution further and adopt the u.n. declaration of human rights as part what she called a human rights amendment. and so there are people that wouldn't say it is in conflict necessarily but in order to make it clear this is about human rights generally to adopt the u.n. declaration. but that was her proposal. so somepeople are thinking along those lines. >> kenan, i'm sorry. mr. mack. >> in response to the gentleman's question about whether or not the 14th amendment making african-american citizens violated their right to self-determination, african-americans thought they were citizens. they voted in many northern states, actually voted in
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southern states until 1830. the exercised the right to citizenship. those rights were taken away and in particar the citizenshi of clause of the 14th amendment was designed to overrule the tony's opinion in dred scott which said no african-americans free or slave could be citizens of the united states. so, from the perspective of black people in the 19th century they believed they were citizens. they voted. everything that citizens had done. they had seen some of those rights taken away. and the 14th amendment restored what had been there before. >> mr. conyers? mr. conyers? mr. conyers? well, he won't be available to close out this session. i guess. so, you know, reverend jackson rules you all.
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before we ask one of the members of congress if they can return, i woul like to ask mary francis barry whether or not the human rights framework gives us any help talking about these issues, especially the convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination? >> right. that's right that's an excellent point and is related to the question that was asked. human rights and civil rights in terms of how we define them are two different things. human rights is a broader concept okay? and in human rights you don't have questions like, does it fit under the 14th amendment, or does it fit under title 7. you ask questions about u.n. conventions such as the one to eliminate race discrimination or discrimination against women. and the united states is signatory to these conventions but, does not enforce them and there's a
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real question how to do it. one of the proposals that i have made as a result on being on the civil rights commission and having it being gutted now and that the civil rights community, the advocacy groups have recommended is that we set up a united states commission on civil and human rights so that the human rights aspect, which is broader, can be taken into account and monitored in this country, including all of those u.n. conventions that we are signatories to and we haven't done anything about. if you want to work on poverty for example, straight up, nobody says, well you can't do that because the constitution does not outlaw poverty and doesn't say anything about class and it is, we have capitalism and, unless it fits under the 14th amendment, you can't deal with that. student loans. you can't deal with that. that's economic. you know, so that, i think that we should have a human
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rights approach. but that is not in conflict with what is going on with the 14th amendment. it's just as fuel lien murray says, it is a. it is different approach. >> i want the pan netists want to conclude with. if they have something burning that they want us to think about as we leave? michelle. >> the one thing i wou add i actually think this debate about the 14th amendment creates an opportunity for african-americans, and particularly the latino community to do better coalition-building. it creates an opportunity for the african-american community to say, we are not going to allow, to do to you what has been done to us in the past which is to deny citizenship to your children and to your grandchildren. and we are going to stand with you in solidarity. and i think that, as i
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described before, i think you know, organizing and movement-build something absolutely critical right now to developing the kind of public consensus and support of equal treatment under the law, meaningful equal treatment under the law that is necessary today. and one of the most important things that we can do is build better coalitions amongst poor people of all colors in the united states and working people of all colors in the united states. and that this debate actually creates a important opportunit for us to open up that dialogue and begin that kind of joint organizing work. >> i would like to thank the congressional black caucus for continuing to convene these kinds of workshops so that we have a chance to talk about important issues. i would like to thank the staff of, charles ogeltree. hold on one second, professor. i will take care of them. the staff of the judiary
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committee, who is here besides you, keenan? i want them to stand up. these people are some of the hardest working, most underpaid people [applause] dean schmoke. >> i've got to go. >> all right. >> we've just been joined by professor ogeltree. we were about to close out. we were about to thank the panelists. thank you, mary francis berry. please give her applause. pplause] and we, in the last three minutes of our session, and by the way, you were brilliant at the center for american progress last night talking about your book about the beer summit and even further. much deeper issues.
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you get the last three minutes and then we're going to thank our panelists. >> wow!. >> charles ogeltree. >> i've been in session since 7:00 this morning. this is my 6th. i'm glad to see you before you close, to see my great hero, bill coleman. who has a book coming out. we'll be hosting him in october. a remarkable book about his life in the last eight decades of the civil rights movement and other issues. so i hope you get a chance to see it. and, judge keith leave? i want to say something about him. the reality i'm just happy talk about some of the issues that are so front and center with what we're doing now. i'veot these great scholars and practitioners here. this is really a challenge. i talked about the criminal justice system, but in terms of civil rights and ken's the historian, in a more unenviable position. we have control of congress. we have control of the white house. we have, you would think a
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movement that will address the issue of civil rights. but in reality we don't. i was just in another session and i looked at the constitution and i have it somewhere in my pocket. it was amazing and bill coleman knows this, he didn'trite it. he has been with it. go back to the 14th amendment. 15th amendment and 25th amendment. they all talk about one thing, citizenship. it is a throwaway word but how important is citizenship anwe have lost it in so many ways. disenfranchisement with voting. people can't get a job. people are protiled in -- profiled in terms of where they live. the realitif you make a mistake in life you can't get a scholarship. dean schmoke, will tell you that. try to improve your education. health care limitations. every area we took for granted with citizenship is being forfeited in a time of opportunity and time of resources and a time of
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celebration. and so i was in a session of two weeks ago in boston and they talked about the civil rights era, 1955 to 1968. it started much earlier than that. it started with frederick douglas making noise about slavery. the civil rights movement dealing with issue of jim crow and segregation. in reality as much as we try to confine it to a period or a time the reality people have been making noise about rights and human rights in a very, very long time. karen. great. how are you. so the final point is this. i ju, my sense is that, that there needs to be a new effort to talk about civil justice in a much broader context. i hear juan williams on the, see him on the air all the time trying to defend basic rights against people who don't believe that they exist. they shouldn't apply to everyone. and, juan's defending a modest position against people who have an extreme position about what our --
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they haven't read it. right? that is the scary thing. they haven't read our constitution. and if we don't pay attention, they will take away some of the most fundamental rights that we have. having said all that. let me just end with this. one of the, ironies here and i'm not asking you who you argoing to vote for, irony, no question president obama has over 90% support among african-americans. that is absolutely clear. it is not going down but, if you look from november 4, 2008, to september 17th, 2010, what is striking about it is that he still has the same level of support for him but in fact, and juan will tell you this and other people tell you on the panel, look at every major election, virginia, new jersey, delaware yesterday, massachusetts, that washington, d.c., we support the president but we're not voting because he is not on the ballot. it becomes interesting that
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he may in a sense be disenfranchised not have power. we'll say we'll vote for him. he may not be able to run if he doesn't have a congress and can't accomplish somef those goals. this is a point of urgency. we have so much but so little to show at this critical time. so my sense in terms of civil rights are absolute and unequivocal goal is to get out on the streets, to talk to people about voting and tell them it is important because there are people who died and who bled and who were tortured and jailed because they stood so that we could vote and be citizens and now, it is our turn to, time, to do the same thing. so, my urging is very simple. we have to stand up and be counted and we have to tal to our neighbors and talk to our enemies. not just ourriend about the fact that, civic engagement is the key to all of this. what damon keith has done with the wonderful exhibit
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about the 14th amendment. is a reminder, a lot of blood was shed for the th, 14th and 15th amendment. we can't take them for granted. if they don't mean as much in 2010, as they did in the 1800s we are all failures. time for us to say thank you what you did for us. believe me. we'll stand there and do it for you as well. >> thank you. [applause] mr. scott you came back into the room. if you are a member of the esteemed house judiciary committee and chairman of the crime subcommittee. is there anything you would like to say in closing? and we should give him a round of applause for all of his work, especially on crack powder cocaine. >> thank you, fred friendly for very exciting conversation and bringing t the important issues. the one of the things we
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keep dealing with on the federal level and congressionalevel, i one of the things the simplistic solutions to complex problems. we've talked about the 14th amendment and defining citizenship. if you're not a citizen, your children aren't citizens. well, try to apply that to an 18-year-old child, 18 years from now, a child trying to register to vote? do they have to prove not only their, find their birth certificate but their parents birth certificate? are we going back to the grand father clause, if my parents were voters, and grandparents were voters and i can vote? if i can't, if i can't prove the parentage and citizenship of my parents? exactly how complicated is that going to get? you go into areas where there are a lot of immigrants. a lot he have people would -- people would be essentially disenfranchised if that
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simple changeook place. we have to be careful. there are a lot of things get rolled back if you don't vote in this election. candidates running on idea that they will repeal health care and they can do it. some say, well we have protection would veto the bill. there are a lot of things they can do if they have control of either the house or the senate. they can defund everything. because you have to have a vote in the house and the senate to fund the health care bill. subsidies for purchase. subsidies for preexisting conditions. insurance. a lot of things, the administration is the thing. all has to be funded. if it is not funded, the program collapses. so, we have to get out to vote. and as, professor ogle tree mentioned, if people wait until two years from now to get ready to vote again, a lot of what we have been able to do in theast two, in these two years in terms of the lilly lead better act
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and in terms of americorps expansion and stimulus bill to try to save jobs. last couple weeks, we passed it to save teacher jobs. all of the things we've been able to do, health care and all the things we might be able to do will go, will just be sabotaged if people don't get out and vote and elect the right people. 14th amendment, when they start talking about repealing that, really is a wake-up call because, if you've seen what has happened in these last few elections and kind of people that are getting nominated on one side, we need to get out and vote. anybody that thinks well, we're happy that they voted the extreme people, just think back, 30 years ago when all the democrats were just absolutely delighted that some b-rated actor was so conservative nobody would pay any attention to him.
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we were just so delighted he got nominated. we didn't know what to do. we had no idea it would serve eight years, pack the supreme court to the point where a lot of decisions are being made today are being made as a result of some of the judges that that he and the people after him appointed. so we have a lot of work to do. laura, thank you for your leadership in this, on this panel. and for all of our panelists for excellent discussion. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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. .